This is a 1 ½-story, gable-roofed, eave-entry barn to which several sheds of different sizes and shapes have been attached to form an enclosed farmyard. The entry facade of the main barn (Barn I) faces south and the ridge-line is perpendicular to Durham Road, which at this point runs north-south.
The main entrance to the barn is a pair of double-height exterior sliding doors in the center of three bays. Near the left (west) corner is a nine-pane stable window. Below the window is a pass-through door to the basement level; the door is partially below grade down a few steps.
A gable-roofed ell (Shed I) is attached to the right (east) bay of the barn at a right angle. It begins to form the east side of the yard. The south gable-end of Shed I has a small shed-roofed addition attached to the east half of the main level. It appears to have no openings. Shed I has a six-pane window in the south gable-end attic.
The east gable-end of the main barn (Barn I) has two, six-pane stable windows on the main level. An identical window sits at the peak of the gable attic. To the south is the east eave-side of Shed I. It has one six-pane window aligned with those of the main barn.
The north eave-side of the barn has a pair of double-height exterior sliding doors in the center. The west gable-end of the barn has two, six-pane stable windows on the main level. An identical window sits at the peak of the gable attic.
Moving clockwise around the enclosed yard, the west half of Shed I is encompassed by Shed II, which is oriented in line with the roof of Shed I. Shed II has a single-pitch shed roof with its peak at the west or interior yard side, sloping down to the east for a one-story eave-side facing the road.
The east eave-side of Shed II appears to have no openings. The west eave side of Shed II is open.
Attached to the south corner of Shed II is saltbox-roofed Barn II with its ridge-line oriented east-west. Connected at a right angle to Shed II, it forms the southeast corner of the yard and runs parallel to, and north of, Old Pent Road, an unpaved lane. There is a six-pane window in the east gable-end attic of Barn II. The south eave-side of Barn II appears to have three overhead garage doors that open onto Old Pent Road.
The interior of the courtyard shows the west gable-end of Barn II, which appears to have a window in the gable attic. The low 1-story north eave-side of Barn II appears to have no openings. The southwest corner of the yard is open for access, leaving a space west of Barn II.
The west side of the courtyard is bordered by Barn III, a narrow 2-story gable-roofed structure with its ridge-line oriented north-south. The east eave-side has four open arch-topped bays north of center and connects to Barn I at the north corner. There is a hinged hay door above the second arch from the left. The south side of Barn III appears to have no openings. The west side of Barn III has four stable windows. The north gable-end of Barn III appears to have no openings.
The buildings of the complex have vertical, flush-board siding painted a deep red. The roof has wood shingles. The foundation is predominantly mortared fieldstone. Barn I has a 2-3 foot height of foundation above grade.
The oldest barns still found in the state are called the “English Barn,” “side-entry barn,” “eave entry,” or a 30 x 40. They are simple buildings with rectangular plan, pitched gable roof, and a door or doors located on one or both of the eave sides of the building based on the grain warehouses of the English colonists’ homeland. The name “30 by 40” originates from its size (in feet), which was large enough for 1 family and could service about 100 acres. The multi-purpose use of the English barn is reflected by the building’s construction in three distinct bays - one for each use. The middle bay was used for threshing, which is separating the seed from the stalk in wheat and oat by beating the stalks with a flail. The flanking bays would be for animals and hay storage.
Distinguished by the long shed or gable roof and the row of large openings along the eave side, the typical wagon shed was often built as a separate structure or as a wing connected to the farmhouse or the barn. These open-bay structures protect farm vehicles and equipment from the weather and provide shelter for doing small repairs and maintenance.
Environment: active agriculture, open land, residential, rural, woodland Materials: vertical siding, fieldstone foundations, gable, asphalt shingle roofs; connected English barns, post and beam, square rule Corn crib is separate Dimensions: 1878, 336, 682, 480 sq. ft. Barn was built 1790,1791 and historically used for agriculture; now used for storage and seasonally a stand with flowers for sale Sources: Rux, Sandra L. "Bluff Head Farm, A History," 2000; Amy B. Wheaton; Town of Guilford Assessment Database
Approximately six miles north of Guilford center, the barn is located on the west side of Durham Road on a 32.53-acre parcel of land known as Bluff Head Farm. To the north of the property’s entrance drive, known as Old Pent Road, the barn sits close and perpendicular to the road, and forms the north side of a square courtyard of agricultural buildings. To the southwest are two small sheds. South of the entrance drive sits a house, built in 1711, with which the barn is associated. Further west on the property, a creek runs north-south and forms a small pond. The remaining acres are rural and agricultural, with open fields, gardens, wooded areas and agricultural outbuildings. Surrounding properties on Durham Road are largely residential and rural, with historic homes and barns, open fields and woodland. The town line with Durham is a short distance north of the property.
C. Wilkinson & T. Levine, reviewed by CT Trust
Field notes and photographs by Penny Colby date 6/29/2010.
Town of Guilford Assessor’s Record:
GIS Viewer: http://www.guilfordgis.com
Parcel ID: 128001
http://maps.google.com accessed 3/5/2011
http://www.bing.com/maps accessed 3/5/2011.
Sources: Rux, Sandra L. Bluff Head Farm, A History, 2000; Amy B. Wheaton
Sexton, James, PhD, Survey Narrative of the Connecticut Barn, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Hamden, CT, 2005, http://www.connecticutbarns.org/history.
Visser, Thomas D., Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings, University Press of New England, 1997.